Deep Dive Into The Driftless

Aug 27, 2023

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Outdoors Wonder Learning Center (OWL Center) , W28488 Refuge Rd Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge
Trempealeau WI, 54661

Event Website


A Time Traveler’s Tour of Wisconsin’s Geology

The Driftless Area of southwest Wisconsin contains many geological gems. From rocks that tell the story of the ancient, shallow tropical sea that once covered the area to the stunning rock formations that make up the Wisconsin Dells, join the Wisconsin Academy on a deep dive into the Driftless Area. 

Geologist Eric Carson will take us on a journey through time, back to the formation of the rocks and landforms that shape the Driftless region today. We will learn how millions of years of geological processes—including tectonic activity, glaciation, and erosion—have contributed to the area’s stunning natural beauty. 

We will explore the story of the ancient, shallow tropical sea that once covered the region and discover how the myriad of ancient landscapes that once existed here are preserved in the rock record. We will also take a closer look at how the slow processes of erosion have exposed the local rock layers in the deep river valleys of the Driftless Area, and how cataclysmic erosion formed the stunning sandstone formations of the Wisconsin Dells in a geologic instant.

The Driftless region’s original inhabitants were members of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Bill Quackenbush will discuss the importance of the Driftless region to Ho-Chunk Nation history, and discuss ongoing efforts in the region to conserve Tribal resources.

Join us for “A Time Traveler’s Tour of Wisconsin’s Geology”, a fascinating series that will take you on a journey back through time. Explore Wisconsin’s rich geological history from a unique perspective – that of a time traveler. As we journey backwards through the state’s geological past, we’ll help you start to think like a geologist, seeing the world in four dimensions.

You may be surprised to learn that Wisconsin has more ‘geodiversity’ than almost any place in the world, with rocks, landforms and water bodies that provide a 3-billion-year long record of events including tectonic plate collisions, mountain building, volcanism, meteorite impact, sea level fluctuations, biological evolution, mass extinctions, and glaciation.

Although some of these events happened in the distant past, they continue to shape our lives today.  Wisconsin’s geologic formations provide building materials, act as groundwater aquifers, govern the chemistry of our soils, and shape the landscapes that we live on.

Join some of Wisconsin’s premiere experts in the unique geological regions of the state, or from the comfort of your own home, in this hybrid series that will take participants on a journey through the Badger state’s eons of geological history. For those able to join in-person, you will be invited to follow each geologist outside on a field trip for a closer look at the unique geological formations discussed in the presentation.